How We Began
Our story begins with Eddie.
Over a period of time Eddie began, with support, to turn his life around. Fast forward some months and he wanted to make a difference with those who found themselves on the street.
What began by assisting just one person led to a series of events that was set to change many more lives and extend across the Borough of Harrow.
In June 2009, the leaders of five local churches came together to discuss how their churches could help the homeless in Harrow.
A steering group was formed, which decided to run a ‘pilot scheme’. This scheme would consist of an evening drop in service, run five nights a week, for five weeks. Contact was made with other agencies in Harrow and the ‘pilot scheme’ was set up to run from January- February 2010.
Following the success of the ‘pilot scheme’, the steering group decided to continue running the drop in, offering the same services, for one night a week.
During the spring of 2010 a decision was made, based on the number of people passing through the drop-in, to run a cold weather night shelter in Harrow in early 2011.
Planning applications were sent to the local authorities and funding was sought from grant giving charities and local churches. By November 2010 FirmFoundation had secured both the planning consent and the necessary funding to run a Winter Night Shelter in Harrow from January – March 2011.
In December 2010 over 100 volunteers from 7 local churches were trained by members of Housing Justice and in January 2011 FirmFoundation’s inaugural Winter Night Shelter opened its doors.
The success of the Night Shelter convinced those in FirmFoundation that more could be and should be done for the homeless in Harrow.
FirmFoundation successfully sought charity status and made plans for the next Winter Night Shelter, which ran successfully from January – March 2012.
FirmFoundation has continued to manage Harrow’s only Winter Night Shelter, each year assisting and supporting individuals off the street and into secure accommodation.
Growing to meet the need
In the April of 2013, the decision was taken to employ a full-time Charity Manager. Following this appointment FirmFoundation began to widen its work.
Early in 2013 an approach was made by a donor to FirmFoundation with the view of purchasing a three bedroom flat for the charity to manage. Clients now can move in with FirmFoundation’s support for up to 24 months, working on life skills, increasing confidence and independence. Eventually moving onto their own accommodation. Hope Place’s first three occupants came from the 2013 Winter Night Shelter.
Single Homelessness Advice Drop-in
FirmFoundation run Harrow’s Single Homelessness Advice Drop-in each week. Harrow Council provides funds to rent the venue which is then managed by the charity.
Work with Rough Sleepers
FirmFoundation now work all through the year supporting and assisting rough sleepers in the Borough of Harrow.
Harrow’s Single Homeless Forum
FirmFoundation are committed to ending homelessness in Harrow. This requires not only the help of Harrow Council but also the other Voluntary Sector Organisations. FirmFoundation will continue to chair Harrow’s Single Homeless Form in order to better achieve this.
Winter Night Shelter
This ten bedded dormitory style shelter, runs each year during January, February and March. During its first five years the shelter has given bed spaces to over 120 men.
FirmFoundation in Harrow aims to: